Sunday, October 23, 2016

Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Secret Ocean
Narrated by renowned oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle, “Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Secret Ocean 3D” offers a breakthrough look at a secret world within the ocean that is perhaps the biggest story of all—that the smallest life in the sea is the mightiest force on which we all depend.
Alongside marine biologist Holly Lohuis, Jean-Michel Cousteau invites audiences to dive into this whole new world that will leave them in awe of the beauty and diversity of the oceans – the source of all life on our planet – and inspire an even stronger desire to protect what they have either seen for the first time or perhaps re-discovered along the journey. 

Filmed over 3 years in vibrant marine environments from the Bahamas to Fiji, the first giant screen film directed by Jean-Michel Cousteau provides a compelling, breakthrough look at a secret world within the ocean that is perhaps the biggest story of all—that the smallest life in the sea is the mightiest force on which we all depend.

"Secret Ocean 3D" engages audiences of all ages to experience the ocean as never before.
With breathtaking underwater sequences, viewers are introduced to over 30 species — some no bigger than one inch — and will discover behaviors captured for the very first time thanks to the development of new filming technologies in ultra-HD 5K, slow motion, macro, and with motion control.

"Since the 1940s, the Cousteau family has been deeply connected to the water. Millions of people have grown up with our Calypso adventures, which revealed to the public what was a totally unknown world at that time," said Jean-Michel Cousteau.
"Thanks to the new technology developed specifically for us, I immediately understood that this was a revolution in underwater filming that would allow us to capture a whole new range of behaviors I had never before witnessed in my 71 years of diving. 'Secret Ocean 3D' takes us one step further in the discovery of the ocean in a way my father, Jacques Cousteau, could have only imagined."

"From the time of my very first dive, I've had the frustration of knowing that there was always more beyond what I could see, but technology is key to being able to see the ocean with new eyes," said narrator Dr. Sylvia Earle.
"Thanks to the stunning giant screen format, 'Secret Ocean' allows us a deeper understanding of all life in the sea, the heart of our planet, and encourages us to take care of not only the large creatures, such as whales and dolphins, but also the tiny creatures that make the rest of life possible. With knowing comes caring, but first we need to know."

Alongside marine biologist Holly Lohuis, Jean-Michel Cousteau provides a brand new view of the underwater world that will leave audiences in awe of the beauty and diversity of the oceans – the source of all life on our planet – and inspire an even stronger desire to protect what they have seen for the first time, or re-discovered along the journey.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Best of Les Voiles de Saint Tropez 2016

by Gilles -Martin Raget and Guilain Grenier "GMR+G1"

Friday, October 21, 2016

Wreck of German U-boat found off coast of Scotland

From BBC by

The wreck of a German U-boat that sank almost 100 years ago has been discovered by engineers laying subsea power cables.

 Images show the damage done to the wreck of the U-boat
Remarkable sonar images show the missing World War One submarine is largely intact and lying off the Galloway coast.
Experts believe the vessel could be the UB-85, a sub that sank in 1918, according to official records.
However, naval folklore suggests it may have been attacked by a "sea monster".

The WW1 U-boat wreck found off the coast of Scotland
could be the key to unlocking the alleged "Loch Ness" sinking.

Mysterious sinking

The entire crew of the U-boat is reported to have abandoned ship due to the "monster attack".
Once aboard the British ship HM Drifter Coreopsis, their commander, Captain Krech described their encounter.
He is said to have spoken of a beast with "large eyes, set in a horny sort of skull…with teeth that could be seen glistening in the moonlight".
He apparently claimed that the sub was so damaged in its battle with the "monster", it could no longer submerge.

However, Dr Innes McCartney, a historian and nautical archaeologist who helped identify the wreckage, does not believe the tale.
"In reality, the real sea monster was the U-boat, here trying to sink ships," he said.
He added: "The submarine was caught on the surface at night, recharging its batteries.
"It saw the patrol ship coming. It attempted to do a crash dive to get away.
"Once the submarine was under water, it rapidly started flooding from above so they had no option but to blow all the compressed air they had, bring the submarine to the surface at which point all they could do was surrender."
The historian said tales of sea monsters and haunted U-boats came about due to secrecy surrounding exactly what happened during the first U-boat war which meant that period was "ripe for conspiracies".
He said the stories were often concocted as a result of journalists and ex-Navy men "talking late at night, after having a nice time".

Mechanical failure

Dr McCartney said there were at least 12 British and German submarines known to have sunk in the Irish Sea.
He said: "The features of this particular wreck, which is largely intact, confirm it as a UBIII-Class submarine, of which we know of two which were lost in the area - the more famous UB-85 and its sister boat UB-82.
"While I can conclude that this wreck is likely to be one or the other, they would be practically impossible to tell apart, aside from the numbers painted on them in service, now obviously long gone.
"Unless a diver can find a shipyard stamp, we cannot say definitively, but yes, we're certainly closer to solving the so-called mystery of UB-85 and the reason behind its sinking - whether common mechanical failure or something that is less easily explained."

The site of the wreckage is marked with a black star, on the route of the undersea cable 
off coast of Stranraer

The historic discovery was made by engineers involved in the £1bn Western Link project to lay a subsea power line between Ayrshire and the Wirral.
The 385km (239miles) long cable will carry renewable energy produced in Scotland to England and Wales.
The engineers found the wreckage 120m north-west of the centre of the planned route, off the Stranraer coast.
It is about 45m long, with debris spilling from the stern.

Gary Campbell, the keeper of the Official Sightings Register of the Loch Ness Monster, said it was "entirely feasible" that a large sea creature disabled the submarine.

 The discovery was made by marine engineers involved in laying an offshore cable connecting Scotland and England

Environmental impact

"The World War One report from the captain of the British ship HMS Hilary a year earlier makes it clear that sea farers at that time were well aware of large sea 'monsters' that could be harmful to their ships," he said.
"The area of sea where the attack took place has a history of sea monster sightings - they have ranged from the north coast of Wales to Liverpool Bay. What the German captain said could well be true."

 The marine cable is approximately 385km long.

Scottish Power Transmission and the National Grid are working together on the Western Link project to lay the undersea cable.
Peter Roper, of Scottish Power, said: "The images we get back from the subsea scans are incredibly detailed, but we obviously need to be aware of what lies beneath before we can start laying a power cable.
"In all the years I have been building power lines, I can say that this is the most extraordinary discovery."

National Grid's Graham Edwards said: "The Western Link is a very significant project for the UK and has required careful planning in all aspects, but particularly in the laying of high-voltage cables in the sea, where we are working hard to minimise our impact on the environment.
"During construction we take great care over archaeology, whether on land or at sea, and it's always exciting to record a significant find and help to shed new light on our history - especially one with such a good tale involved!"

Links :

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Stanford VR project takes students to oceans of the future

Roughly 30 percent of the carbon dioxide produced by humans dissolves into oceans, rivers and lakes, transforming conditions for ocean life for the worse.
Stanford scientists have produced a 360-degree virtual underwater ecosystem to provide an up-close look at how coral reefs might appear by the end of the century if emissions aren’t curbed

From Campus Technology by Dian Schaffhauser 

A new, free virtual reality program allows users to explore what happens as climate change kills off coral reefs.
The Stanford Ocean Acidification Experience is a free science education tool that takes students to the bottom of the sea and then fast-forwards their experience to the end of this century, when, as scientists predict, many coral reefs are expected to corrode through ocean acidification.
By putting the experience in VR, the collaborators say they are hoping to change people's behavior in the real world.

The project came out of Stanford's Virtual Human Interaction Lab, which created a related 360-degree video project that also examines the problem of global warming and its impact on the ocean's life forms.
But it's the VR version that allows the viewer to deep-sea dive and collect samples off of the ocean floor.

 Wearing a virtual reality headset, a researcher tries out the Stanford Ocean Acidification Experience, a new VR science education tool, with coral animation still in background.
(Image credit: Stanford Virtual Human Interaction Lab)

The simulation places the viewer into heavy traffic, where he or she can follow carbon dioxide molecules as they float from car tailpipes to the sea, where they're absorbed.
Then the viewer steps into the waves and moves around coral as it loses its vitality and displays the effects of increasingly acidic water on marine life.
A narrator explains what's happening as the story unfolds and encourages the viewer to undertake specific actions, such as a species count.
"You're not watching something, you're doing it," said Jeremy Bailenson, founding director of the lab and a communications professor.
"You learn by doing. These are magic, teachable moments."

The lab created the software in partnership with marine biologists Fiorenza Micheli from Stanford and Kristy Kroeker, formerly at Stanford and now at the University of California, Santa Cruz, as well as Roy Pea, a professor at Stanford's Graduate School of Education.
The development process took two years to recreate a virtual replica of an actual rocky reef around the Italian island of Ischia, where underground volcanic vents have been spewing carbon dioxide at the reef.
The data collected from that site has allowed researchers to measure the impact on marine life and to extrapolate what effect people's increasing fossil fuel use will have in decades to come.

A related video, "The Crystal Reef," filmed in 360 degrees and developed as part of a master's degree project by a lab member, premiered during the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year.
There, people could watch the film on VR headgear.
"We had a line of dozens of people for 11 hours a day, six days straight," said Bailenson, in a Stanford article about the project.

The VR project has also gone to Washington, where lawmakers and staffers tried it out during a Capitol Hill event organized by non-profit Ocean Conservancy.
Among them was Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island.
"This simulation shows in rich detail the damage carbon pollution inflicts on our oceans," said Whitehouse after his viewing.
"I appreciate the Stanford Ocean Acidification Experience for calling attention to the peril our oceans face and what we must do to protect them."

 Other research from Stanford :
A combination of sensors and video reveals details about the hunting methods of the largest predators that have ever lived.
The study focuses on rorquals, a family of baleen whales that includes blue whales, humpbacks and minke whales. 

Links :

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Historical records may underestimate sea level rise

Sea level change resulting from Greenland ice melt, derived from NASA GRACE measurements. Black circles show locations of the best historical water level records, which underestimate global average sea level rise due to Greenland melt by about 25 percent.

Credits: University of Hawaii/NASA-JPL/Caltech


A new NASA and university study using NASA satellite data finds that tide gauges -- the longest and highest-quality records of historical ocean water levels -- may have underestimated the amount of global average sea level rise that occurred during the 20th century.

A research team led by Philip Thompson, associate director of the University of Hawaii Sea Level Center in the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, Manoa, evaluated how various processes that cause sea level to change differently in different places may have affected past measurements.
The team also included scientists from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, and Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia.
“It’s not that there’s something wrong with the instruments or the data,” said Thompson, “but for a variety of reasons, sea level does not change at the same pace everywhere at the same time. As it turns out, our best historical sea level records tend to be located where 20th century sea level rise was most likely less than the true global average.”

 Global mean sea level is rising, but as shown by the satellite data pictured here, the rate of sea level change is not the same everywhere.
This presents a challenge when estimating historical average global sea level rise from tide gauges prior to satellite measurements.
Credit: NOAA

One of the key processes the researchers looked at is the effect of “ice melt fingerprints,” which are global patterns of sea level change caused by deviations in Earth’s rotation and local gravity that occur when a large ice mass melts.
To determine the unique melt fingerprint for glaciers, ice caps and ice sheets, the team used data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites on Earth’s changing gravitational field, and a novel modeling tool (developed by study co-author Surendra Adhikari and the JPL team) that simulates how ocean mass is redistributed due to ice melting.

One of the most fascinating and counter-intuitive features of these fingerprints is that sea level drops in the vicinity of a melting glacier, instead of rising as might be expected.
The loss of ice mass reduces the glacier’s gravitational influence, causing nearby ocean water to migrate away.
But far from the glacier, the water it has added to the ocean causes sea level to rise at a much greater rate.

During the 20th century, the dominant locations of global ice melt were in the Northern Hemisphere. The results of this study showed that many of the highest-quality historical water level records are taken from places where the melt fingerprints of Northern Hemisphere sources result in reduced local sea level change compared to the global average.

 Changes in ocean height in the Indian Ocean (2004-2014).
Darker reds indicate faster rate of rise.
Credit: University of Hawaii at Manoa

Furthermore, the scientists found that factors capable of enhancing sea level rise at these locations, such as wind or Southern Hemisphere melt, were not likely to have counteracted the impact of fingerprints from Northern Hemisphere ice melt.
The study concludes it is highly unlikely that global average sea level rose less than 5.5 inches (14 centimeters) during the 20th century. The most likely amount was closer to 6.7 inches (17 centimeters).
“This is really important, because it provides answers to the question about how melt fingerprints and the influence of wind on ocean circulation affect our ability to estimate past sea level rise,” said Thompson.
“These results suggest that our longest records are most likely to underestimate past global mean change and allow us to establish the minimum amount of global sea level rise that could have occurred during the last century.”

Results are published in Geophysical Research Letters.

Links :

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Future of Antarctic marine protected areas is at risk

Antarctica’s surrounding waters are home to some of the healthiest marine ecosystems on Earth, but efforts to establish conservation areas in the Southern Ocean are being hobbled by political infighting and fishing interests.
Image Copyright: John B. Weller

From Standford Univ. by Ker Than

Efforts to adopt effective marine protected areas in the Southern Ocean, a global commons containing the world’s most pristine marine ecosystems, are being thwarted by political infighting and fishing interests.

Antarctica’s surrounding waters are home to some of the healthiest marine ecosystems on Earth and support thriving populations of krill, seabirds, fish and whales.
But efforts to establish a network of effective Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the Southern Ocean are being hobbled by political infighting and demands that prioritize fishing interests over conservation by members of the international consortium tasked with conserving the region, Stanford scientists say.

The last intact sea :
The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) is currently considering the adoption of marine protected areas (MPAs) in the Southern Ocean.

The findings, published Oct.14 in Science, come as 24 countries and the European Union convene in Hobart, Australia, next week for the annual meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), to resume negotiations of Southern Ocean MPAs.
“Our research shows that CCAMLR’s positions for and against MPAs have become entrenched,” said lead author Cassandra Brooks, a PhD candidate at Stanford School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences.
“Negotiations have become entangled with larger global geopolitics and we see an emerging scramble for marine resources in this remote frontier.”
The authors argue that as a leader in international fisheries management, CCAMLR has the opportunity to set an example for ongoing negotiations at the United Nations level to develop a legal instrument for conserving biodiversity in international waters, also known as the high seas.
But if CCAMLR continues to fall short in its duties, it could set a sorry example with ramifications for marine protection in other parts of the world, said study co-author Kristina Gjerde, a legal scholar at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
“It would send the message that fishing interests trump conservation, despite the global interests at stake,” Gjerde said.
“It could raise doubts that nations will be able to set aside short-term national interests to confront global ocean challenges stemming from accelerating climate change.
And finally, it is doubtful that these diminished sites would count toward global goals for MPAs as they would not meet the IUCN MPA criteria.”

Reverse burden of proof

Despite more than a decade of international negotiations informed by robust scientific planning, CCAMLR has failed to meet its goal of adopting a system of MPAs in the Southern Ocean to conserve biodiversity in the face of threats from climate change and potential overfishing, the authors say.
A major obstacle is agreement about the concept of “rational use,” which sets the terms under which CCAMLR’s member nations are allowed to fish in the Southern Ocean.
The region contains some of Earth’s least exploited fish stocks, and its large populations of krill – small crustaceans that are food for the region’s fish, seabirds and whales – and toothfish have made it an increasingly prized fishing spot.
Krill is valuable as fishmeal and for making health supplements, and toothfish are sold as lucrative “Chilean sea bass” around the world.
As originally defined, rational use required that fishing not cause irreversible damage to the greater marine ecosystems of the Southern Ocean and for precautionary catch limits and scientific oversight to be set in place.
But as the number of CCAMLR’s fishing nations has grown, and as pressure increases to secure access to current and future resources in the Southern Ocean, some nations are pushing to equate rational use with the unfettered right to fish.
Countries such as China and Russia have argued against MPA proposals that in any way restrict fishing and demand sufficient evidence to show that fishing threatens ecosystems.
“MPA opponents want to reverse the burden of proof,” said co-author Larry Crowder, science director of the Center for Ocean Solutions in Monterey, California, and a fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.
“When rational use was first negotiated, the whole idea was that you needed data in order to fish.
Now, it’s being interpreted by some fishing nations as unequivocal fishing.”

Sunset clauses

Sunset clauses on the MPAs are another source of fierce debate.
MPAs are usually established in perpetuity, but some CCAMLR member nations are advocating that Southern Ocean MPAs have built-in expiration dates ranging from 20 to 30 years.
“Twenty years is shorter than the lifespan of most Antarctic predators which the MPAs are proposing to protect,” Brooks said.
But not only are sunset clauses inconsistent with the stated goals of MPAs, they do not meet internationally established criteria for protected areas and may not qualify for global MPA targets, the authors warn.
Broader geopolitics have also infiltrated CCAMLR negotiations, the authors say.
For example, poor international relations between nations – such as tensions between Russia and the United States over Crimea – seem to be spilling into the negotiating room.
Nations opposing MPAs are being accused of not negotiating in good faith, while proponents of MPAs are accused of using MPAs a political tool.
“The result is a breakdown of trust between member nations, causing a stalemate over MPAs,” Crowder said.

Campaign to have the Ross Sea, Antarctica declared a marine reserve protected area.

High seas implications

Two large MPAs are currently being negotiated at CCAMLR: one in the East Antarctic and one in the Ross Sea – a region that has been deemed “The Last Ocean” because it is perhaps the healthiest large marine ecosystem left on the planet.
“We’ve seen an East Antarctic and Ross Sea MPA come to CCAMLR’s decision-making table five times now without being adopted.
Next week will be the sixth,” Brooks said.
“Each year, during the course of negotiations, the proposed MPAs in these two regions have continued to be downsized, with ecologically critical areas removed and ‘research fishing zones’ added.”

With CCAMLR meetings set to resume on Oct. 17, Brooks and her co-authors urge member nations to find a way forward in upholding their mandate and meeting their commitment toward MPAs.
“The Southern Ocean is our best-case scenario,” Brooks said.
“If we can’t figure out how to protect marine ecosystems there, it suggests it will be extremely difficult to protect them anywhere else.”
Other co-authors on the paper, “Science-based management in decline in the Southern Ocean,” include Robert Dunbar of Stanford School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences; Lisa Curran, Stanford professor of anthropology and a fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment; David Ainley of H.T. Harvey & Associates; Klaus Dodds of the Royal Holloway University of London; and Rashid Sumaila of the University of British Columbia.

Links :

Monday, October 17, 2016